“Did you just tagline me?!”

Elevator pitch, tagline, messaging

Don’t tagline someone at a cocktail party!

Last week at the Idaho Nonprofit Conference, I did a session on Mastering Your Message. We talked about the difference between messaging that is read vs said.

For instance, an elevator pitch is said and taglines are read. That’s why when you use your tagline as your elevator pitch, you end up “taglining” someone.

That’s right, thanks to an awesome workshop attendee, “to tagline” is now a verb. They were asked to share their current elevator pitch with their neighbors and as I wandered by one group, a woman looked up and said, “I think I just got taglined!”

Being taglined is no fun. It’s kind of creepy.

Take the American Cancer Society. They have a humdinger of a tagline: The official sponsor of birthdays. Now imagine you’re at a cocktail party chatting with someone who worked for them and they said: “I work for the American Cancer Society. We’re the official sponsor of birthdays.” Um, okay. Good for you. (Go away, creepy person who is coming on way to strong. That’s what you’d really be thinking.)

If you’re working on your messaging, start by perfecting your elevator pitch, then tackle your website copy and other social properties, and then your tagline. In that order.

Everyone wants to come up with the snazzy tagline. It’s way fun. And that’s why most organizations start there. But it’s much smoother, and completely un-creepy, to transition from messaging that is said to messaging that is read.

Have you ever been taglined?



Help your board get over its messaging hiccups

Help your board get over its messaging hiccups

Last week, I got to help board members from three different organizations find their words. One of the biggest hiccups they faced was using jargon and/or acronyms. On the receiving end, these both sound like blah, blah, blah.

Staff bandy about some blah, blah, blah with the best of them. Don’t get me wrong. But since board members don’t talk about the organization as often as staff, they don’t have as many opportunities to shake the habit.

If your board members are struggling to de-jargonify their personal pitches, teach them this trick: as soon as they hear themselves use jargon or an acronym, have them pause and say, “Here’s what I mean by that…”

This allows them to keep some words and terms that are comfy to them (which is often important in order for them to let their passion shine through!) while making it understandable to those not as familiar with your mission and work.

Any other tips and tricks to help board members get over messaging hiccups?

Heads & Hearts

Mission-motivated organizations (nonprofits and social enterprises, I’m talking to you!) talk a lot to people’s heads. If you want more engagement, speak to their hearts. Find out how in this video!

Paralanguage: The power of non-verbal communication

How you say something is as important as what you say. Paralanguage is the non-verbal communications we send out as we use verbal communication. Is it affecting what you’re saying?

Paralanguage: The power of non-verbal communication from Claxon Marketing on Vimeo.

Back to School with the 1,2,3 Marketing Tree

It’s the first day of school in our neck of the woods. Time to get back to the basics. Claxon’s 1,2,3, Marketing Tree gives you the basic steps for your organization to inspire action and engagement (i.e. market itself) in a way that’s simple, effective and fun. Yep, yep! Find out how in this quick video.


1, 2, 3 Marketing Tree from Claxon Marketing on Vimeo.